Gateway: Sports

Despite 0-2 start, Peninsula coach Filkins sees positives against tough competition

It’s been a rough start for the Peninsula football team as they start out their season with two loses that saw the team struggling to score. The Seahawks lost week one to O’Dea, 21-6 and then most recently to Skyline, 25-17. That loss to Skyline helped clarify to coach Ross Filkins what the team needs to do to improve.

“We didn’t come out of the gate hot,” Filkins said. “Which was disappointing because it was a focus all week. We did not handle the road and the environment quite as well as we would have hoped in the first quarter. We really put ourselves behind.”

The Seahawks failed to score that first quarter while the Spartans did not, getting 12 points on their first two possessions. The second of these conversions came from an interception.

Things did look better for the Seahawks in the second quarter as they bounced back off that slow start and rallied to get 14 points of their own.

“We played much much better from there on,” Filkins said.

Even with that rally, the team still found themselves down 25-14 going into the half. However, a big sign of improvement came from the team holding Skyline to zero in the second half.

“Defensively, the entire second half, we put together probably one of the best second halves of defenses that we have in a long time,” Filkins said. “I don’t think they had positive yards in the second half.”

A standout on that defensive end when the team needed it most was Sean Skladany whose performance Filkins praised.

“Skladany really is a standout performer for us right now,” Filkins said. “He was a wrecking crew at defensive end for us.”

What made him a wrecking crew? He had three sacks, three quarterback hurries, and two tackles in the game.

However, the team still is looking to see more output on the offensive end with new quarterback Peyton Bice. Bice replaced the team’s standout quarterback from last year, Burke Griffin, and is now in his senior year attempting to fill those big shoes.

“He’s grown into it. I will say this, he showed a lot of improvement over the course of that game,” FIlkins said. “He took us down the field for a score in the fourth quarter that allowed us to onside kick and try to take that thing to overtime. Everything that Peyton Bice did on that drive was exactly who we need him to be.”

With that growth, Filkins has some hopes for what he will see throughout the rest of the season from his quarterback in the games ahead.

“Less turnovers and a higher completion percentage,” Filkins said. “It’s not easy being a quarterback but again over the course of that game at Skyline I think things really did start to slow down for him and he was able to really set his feet, get on his reads and deliver the ball. He did a really good job again down the stretch. He’s just needs to continue to work at it.”

That work will continue as they play North Thurston next on Thursday the 19th in their first league game.

“It’s a short week. I wish we had an extra day, but we don’t. It’s the same for both teams,” Filkins said. “These short week games, it’s just a lot for both teams to prepare.”

There were no big injuries that the team had to speak of that could be a problem in such a quick turnaround. However, Filkins did remark on the general wear and tear that one begins experiencing in football.

“This time of year, you start feeling it,” Filkins said. “I think every coach probably wants as much practice time as possible but that’s just not a reality.”

With all of that, he was glad that his team has been facing tough games as it has shown not only what they need to work on but who they are as a team.

“We’ve really benefitted,” Filkins said. “The two teams that we played were really dynamic in their own right so we really feel like we know ourselves. We know our strengths, our weaknesses, our areas that need some improvement.”

So even with the 0-2 start, the team hopes that the talented competition they faced these first two weeks will help them as they continue on in the season.

“There’s probably only three or four schools in the state that have had a week one, week two schedule like us,” Filkins said. “We certainly hope that the benefit and the pay off is coming.”